Karl’s Home Automation Project – Part 1: Home Assistant & YAML, MQTT, Sonoff, and Xmas Lights

Karl here. I am here to write about my home automation project. First thing I want to say is that I am very cost conscious and I don’t mind putting in extra effort into the setup of things to keep costs down. I did invest a lot of time and had to do a lot of reading to get my project going. It took while and I received a lot of groans from my wife while testing. I am still in the process of tweaking things. I started watching a series of videos on YouTube from Bruh Automation. He introduced me to Home Assistant. It got me really excited. He uses a Raspberry Pi as a server but I already had a Wintel Pro CX-W8 Smart TV Box which I use as a server. I run 3 Minecraft Servers, Emby Server, iSpyConnect DVR (2 IP Cameras), Unifi wifi controller, and […]

Xiaomi Mi Box (US) Android TV TV Box Review

Introduction The Mi Box is the first Xiaomi product I have used. I received it beginning of December and have been using it regularly since then. I have received 3 updates which went through uneventfully. I was very pleased with this box. I ended up getting one for my in-laws and one for my 4 year old sons bedroom. The UI worked as expected. I have an Nvidia Shield Android TV, and the Mi Box complements it very well. Having Plex Server running on the Shield and Plex on the Mi Box is pretty fantastic to easily share content. Not to mention way more cost effective than putting a Shield in every room. What’s Inside The build quality is good. The power supply puts out 5.2v which is not typical. I do wish it had more USB ports. A single USB is inadequate. I found myself swapping USB out frequently […]

YokaTV KB2 Review – Amlogic S912 TV Box with 32 GB Flash

CNXSoft: This is another review by Karl about Amlogic S912 based YokaTV KB2 TV box. Introduction Today we will be looking at Videostrong YokaTV KB2. Below are the specs from Videostrong website. This is my first S912 device so I had high expectation. I have been using it for quite some time now with no major issues. I received approximately 6 OTA updates since I started testing and some welcome updates have come. Build When I receive a box first thing I do is take it apart and check out the inside. I was excited when I found out it had 32 gig of storage. It is not too common. Then when I opened the box I was really happy to see an antenna that wasn’t soldered on. Makes it easy to add a different one. +1 for KB2. Then I noticed the heat sink. It seemed a little small. […]

Tanix TX5 Pro TV Box Review – Part 2: Modding and Testing

Karl here with part 2 of Tanix TX5 Pro TV box. In the first part we peaked inside took a look at the specs and quick look at the UI. In part 2, we will get into the nitty gritty. When I first received the box there were several issues: Play Store incompatibility, issue with language reverting to Chinese, and green screen on YouTube. Tanix quickly followed up with an update and resolved these issues. Stuck in my ways So I have to admit that I am pretty stuck in my ways when it comes to the way I use Android. It started long ago with my first stick the MK808 with Rockchip Rk3066. It was basically the phone version of Android on the TV and I really liked it. We have come a long way since then and some changes have occurred in the box market UI, like the […]

Tanix TX5 Pro TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Teardown, and Hands-on

Karl here with Tanix TX5 Pro S905X review. This is my first s905x box. I am splitting this into 2 parts because software is not quite up to snuff yet. I ran into some issues with language reverting back to default which is Chinese. This happens so frequently it is unbearable. I can almost read Chinese now. Youtube only shows green square with audio, and finally most apps show incompatible in the Play Store. I have notified Gearbest who is going to contact the manufacturer. On the bright side I am very pleased with UI compared to the s905 boxes I have reviewed. Specs pulled from GearBest Website General Model: TX5 Pro Type: TV Box GPU: Mali-450 System: Android 6.0 CPU: Amlogic S905X Core: 2.0GHz,Quad Core RAM: 2G ROM: 16G Max. Extended Capacity: TF card up to 32GB (not included) Color: Black Media Supported Decoder Format: H.265 Video format: 1080P,H.264,H.265,MPEG-1,MPEG2,MPEG4,VC-1,VP9 […]

How to Customize Amlogic Android Firmware – A Tutorial with NEXBOX A95X (S905) TV Box

CNXSoft: Bear in mind that there are multiple versions of Nexbox A95X. Yesterday, I published the review of Nexbox A95X with Android 6.0, with the model based on Amlogic S905X processor. In this article, Karl had a look at Nexbox A95X with Amlogic S905 processor, which he purchased a couple of months ago, but since he was not happy with the Android 5.1 firmware, he decided to customize it. Karl here with a review of the Nexbox A95X S905 box. This took a while to even start. I received the box about 2 months ago and I dived right in and broke it. I didn’t have factory firmware, and wasn’t cautious enough and bricked it. I found some firmware that worked but it didn’t work very well for me. Email’s to Nexbox directly didn’t help and I was stuck with a bricked box… I later found someone who had factory […]

Review of No.1 D6 Android Smartwatch Powered by Mediatek MT6580 Processor

Karl here with a new review. This one is a little different. A smart watch, but not your average smart watch, as most smartwatches supplement a phone. This is a standalone smartwatch. It runs full Android 5.1. It is the D6 by No. 1. It has a 3G radio and SIM card slot. I was really excited when I found out I could do this review. Below are some pics from their website. Another professionally shipped and packaged product and some box pics Here are the specs from No. 1’s website. Product Overview Model NO.1 D6 Product modeling Android Smartwatch System Android 5.1 CPU MT6580 quad core Cortex A7 @ up to 1.3 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU Screen Resolution 1.63″ 320 x 320 resolution RAM 1GB ROM 8GB Wifi Support Google Play Support Features Make calls Support See text messages Support Contacts Support Heart Rate Support Pedometer Support Bluetooth BT2.1 + […]

Morefine M1+ Review – A Dual Boot Windows and Android TV Stick

Karl here and I will be reviewing the Morefine M1+. It is an Intel based stick PC with an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor with 2GB RAM and 64 GB of storage. It dual boots Windows 10 Home 32 bit and Android 5.1. In this review, I won’t be doing many benchmarks because they have been done a lot in the past. Be careful when researching this product because there are 2 devices with same name with different specs. The other one has an Intel Atom z3735 and only 32GB storage and Android 4.4. The box came expertly wrapped and I have never seen a package delivered and protected so well. In the box was the stick, short HDMI extension, power cable, and instruction manual. No micro USB OTG cable is included. I didn’t find this an issue because I had several already. Specs OS Version: OS Windows 10 (Trial Version) […]

RISC-V laptop, mini PC